About 100,000 Nigerian students left for UK varsities in five years: Minister

Nigerians at the Airport
Nigerians at the Airport

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, says statistics indicate that at least 99,985 Nigerian students left the country to enroll in universities in the United Kingdom between 2017 and 2022.

The minister disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2023 University of Lagos International Week on Monday in Lagos.

The theme of the international week is ‘Breaking the Borders of Partnership’.

Mr Tunji-Ojo, who said more than 100 Nigerians get postgraduate scholarships to study in the UK, noted that others also left Nigeria with a genuine intention of self-advancement.

”According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), reports have shown that about 99,985 Nigerian students left this country to enrol in universities in the United Kingdom between 2017 and 2022.

“While many may contend that the majority of these students have simply ‘JAPA’ for other reasons, we cannot also deny the fact that a larger chunk of these students have left with the purest intent to seek further knowledge for self-advancement,” the minister said.

He also lamented the challenges of obtaining passports despite paying for the travel documents.

“Now, in going all through this, therefore, I may want to ask why our students should now suffer to acquire international passports, even when they have paid for them.

“Their pursuit of breaking new grounds across borders is one that gives us great joy, as through our children, we sustain the future,” he said.

The minister said the ministry had commenced the automation of the end-to-end passport application process and had given a timeline from which Nigerians would begin to experience the “sweet experience.”

“By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport.

“By January next year, Nigerians will be able to complete this application process online, and by February next year, with collaboration and partnership with other relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice,” he stated.

According to him, this will also be extended to the visa application process, with technology deployed throughout the process to make it as seamless as possible.